Iceland Mag

7 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag


Millions in Nazi gold believed to lie hidden off Iceland's shores

By Staff

  • Treasure ship? SS Porta, the sister ship of German merchant marine vessel SS Minden which treasure hunters believe contains a huge gold treasure.Photo/Wikipedia.

A group of international treasure hunters have applied for a permit to operate in Icelandic waters in the ocean off the coast of South East Iceland. The British news site Mail Online claims the object of the research is to recover a chest containing at least 100 million pounds worth of gold from a German merchant vessel which was scuttled in the first days of the Second World War. If the treasure hunters are granted the permit the salvage operation could start as early as this fall.

We at Iceland Magazine followed this strange closely at the time. 

Read more: Police investigating suspicious researchers: Claim to be searching for German WWII wreck

Seabed constructor

Seabed constructor The Norwegian research vessel. Photo/Eyþór

In April a Norwegian research vessel called Seabed Constructor was escorted to harbour by the Icelandic Coast Guard after suspicion arose the vessel was engaged in illegal research. The vessel was operating in an area where a German merchant vessel, SS Minden, had been scuttled in the first days of the war.

Little was known of the mission of the Norwegian vessel, other than that it had been leased to a British research company, Advanced Marine Services. The crew gave contradictory answers when contacted by the Coast Guard, which therefore decided to order the ship to shore. When questioned by Police the crew simply said they had been searching for "valuable minerals" onboard the ship. 

Now the British research company has made a formal request for a permit for marine research with the Icelandic Environmental Agency. According to the local newspaper Morgunblaðið the application does not explain what the company is searching for. Now, however, UK media claims the objective is a chest containing gold valued at as much as 100 British pounds. The gold was being moved from South American banks to Germany after the Second World War broke out. 

Read more: Mysterious research vessel will not be allowed to continue its secret research S.W. of Iceland

Seabed constructor, SS Minden
Wreck of SS Minden The German vessel lies 120 nm off the coast of S.W. Iceland. Photo/Google Maps

The waters around Iceland contain numerous shipwrecks from WWII. The SS Minden was one of these vessels. She was making her way from South America to Europe, attempting to run a British naval blockade of Nazi Germany, when she was intercepted by English cruisers. Rather than allowing the vessel to be captured its captain scuttled the ship, sinking it and its cargo.

Historians were surprised that the treasure hunters had descended on the ship, as it was carrying a cargo of industrial resin when it sank, and there are no records to indicate there were any valuables onboard.

Related content

Editor's Picks